Life In Sweden – 2 Years On

The 5th October marks 2 years since we arrived, joined Dadda, and started our life in Sweden…it has gone crazy fast and I can’t believe we have already been here that long.  Our little people are starting to be not so little anymore, and all three have now started school here.  I have previously reflected back at the 6 month point and I also evaluated life after being here for 1 year.  This year I thought I would do something a little different, and rather than write the whole post from my perspective, I thought I would do a little interview with all the family members and see what they had to say about our life here in Sweden.  I asked each family member (including myself) 5 questions.  Please bear in mind our double trouble are still only 6 so their outlook on life is very different (but nevertheless just as important) from us other three 🙂

1.  What do you like about life in Sweden?

Twin 2:  I like having a bigger garden, all the snow, playing on the big swing at school (play equipment in schools in the UK is rare), and having grandparents to stay with us for many days instead of a few hours.

Twin 1:  Less school, lots of snow, I can climb trees at school (this was certainly not allowed at our daughter’s school in the UK), and there are lots more types of mushrooms growing.

Little lady:  Our bigger garden, wearing her own clothes to school, more freedom and independence (she is able to go out on her own with her friends here (with all the safety measures in place, but we would never have considered this yet in the UK) campfires and fire pits, and there are lots of different food celebration days (for example chocolate ballswaffle day, and cinnamon bun day).

Dadda:  It is more peaceful and calm here (less people really help!), and people are just more generally laid back about life on the whole.

Mamma:  I am so happy with the schooling ethos, the accessibility to nature and allemansrätten, the slower pace of life, having four proper seasons in a year, being amongst such welcoming people, much less traffic, and our lovely wooden home.

2.  What Do You Find Hard About Life In Sweden?

Twin 1:  Eeeeeerrrmmmmm……..

Twin 2:  *silence while the brain ticks over with no result*

Little Lady:  Having less friends.  There are less people on the island so I have less amount of friends and it is because my class is much smaller too, so there are less people to be friends with.

Dadda:  Learning Swedish is very hard….finding the time and energy around full time work and having three children.

Mamma:  I am finding teaching myself the language very difficult.  SFI (the free language course available to attend) is not so accessible when you are chasing after three children and the first finish school at midday, and you are trying to grow a little business of your own.  Progress is happening (I just need to keep thinking we didn’t have any words when we arrived and now we can hold a simple conversation….well either that or people are very good at bluffing!).  I miss having support….support of those who really know you and your children, especially when going through the tougher times with three children or even just needing to take a break from them for an evening.  Everyday tasks can also take a lot more effort…for example booking a doctor’s appointment through the automated system is a total nightmare for me to navigate, or just simple things like understanding a letter to pay a bill.

3.  What Do You Miss About The UK?

Twin 2:  English sausages!!

Twin 1:  Pirate park (a park near where we used to live), Grandparents, my old room, and Smiggle (a very expensive but lovely children’s stationary shop….and my wallet does not miss it!!).

Little lady:  Family and friends.  She has perhaps been the most affected of all 5 of us by the move and her friendships becoming long distance.  We have been very fortunate in that people have visited us and we do a lot of FaceTime, but when she feels low it does hit her very hard. She has no one who has known her for years to vent to.  She is making some lovely friends here, and now language doesn’t hold her back, she is happier to socialise more and more with them.

Dadda:  Accessibility to alcohol (the nearest place is a 20 minute drive and it is all in special state run shops here), our old VW van (we so wanted to bring it with us, but being right hand drive it was just impractical as would have cost so much in the long run.  But it did make such a difference to daily living as a family of 5).  Family and friends.

Mamma:  As well as family and friends I really miss prawn cocktail crisps, spray polish, Marmite (which people ship out to us!), and popping to the local garage to pick up a bottle of red wine for the evening.

What Would You Change If You Could?

Twin 2:  I would get a dog….

Twin 1:  Eeerrrmmmm…..

Little lady:  I wish we could have brought our van….she is now squished in the middle of her twins car seats in the back of a Volvo….she had space in the van around her to bring the 377 things out a little girl needs with her for a quick 5 minute drive.

Dadda:  More time and energy to learn Swedish.

Mamma:  Brought our van…..I miss the ease of it to throw three children into the back, as well as everything a family of five needs for its outdoor lifestyle in the boot (not to mention being able to change children in it during very cold, snowy, or rainy weather so easily!!).  I would have also tried to start learning Swedish before arriving in an ideal world….as it was we only had 4 weeks notice Dadda was leaving the UK, and then I was left looking after 3 children and packing for an international move on my own!

Does Life In Sweden Get The Thumbs Up Or The Thumbs Down?

Twin 2:  Thumbs up

Twin 1:  Thumbs up

Little Lady:  Thumbs in the middle

Dadda:  Thumbs up

Mamma:  Thumbs up

I hope you have enjoyed seeing how we are all finding life in Sweden two years on now.  Overall we would all say we are happy and settled with life in Sweden, and of course there will always be things we miss about the UK, but all 5 of us unanimously think of Sweden as our home.  When we travel back to the UK to see family and friends we don’t say we are going home, that is when we return back to Sweden.  Of course it isn’t or hasn’t all been plain sailing.  We have all had our emotional ups and downs, and sometimes a very good hard cry (I’m not sure Dadda has participated in one of those yet, but there is still time!), and especially for our little lady expat grief is something that crops up when she is having low moments.  If you fancy life in Sweden, want to move abroad, or have moved abroad, and have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me either through the comments or my email, or if you can offer any advice to us too!!  Follow us on Instagram to see more photos of life in Sweden and living the outdoors lifestyle here with three children in tow.

Life In Sweden 2 Years on, living in Sweden, Sweden, Living abroad, expat, expat living, Scandinavia, moving abroad, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

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20 Comments

  1. I can’t believe its been two years! It’s interesting to hear what your all think of the move 2 years on. My girls have emails now, so I should send you their addresses and your little lady can email them! It’s lovely to know you all think of Sweden as home now

    • Yes she would love that! I think the children’s thoughts are the most important as we made the move decision for them xx

  2. Haha proximity to alcohol made me laugh. I think I would struggle with that too. It sounds like you’ve all adjusted really well I also really like the sound of less people!

    • Yes it is funny how it is a recurring theme with mine and Dadda’s thoughts!! Hence I have commenced homebrewing!!

  3. John Hagger

    I can’t believe it’s been 2 years. But a lovely way of summing up 2 years; well done.
    I found learning Swedish VERY difficult when I worked there, especially as the international HO I was working in had a mandatory English speaking policy. I learnt to listen to the news and read the papers, but putting a sentence together, well!!
    And that beloved Systembolaget! When we holidayed in Lingbo for 4 weeks the nearest one was 45 minutes away! I thought you could have it delivered to locations near you? Perhaps they’ve stopped that now. Might be worth asking?
    When you next over you’ll always be welcome to pop in and maybe meet our beloved Indy (withdrawn Guide Dog) and our Guide Dog puppy – we currently have 8 week old Cruz!
    Keep posting.

    • Ah that is so kind of you and I hope you are both well? Yes we can order the alcohol, but delivery to our island is only once a week and we just never seem to be organised enough! We have managed it once when we knew we were having visitors this summer! Dadda’s job is English speaking too so it’s hard for him to practise, and the dogs I walk seem to understand me, but conversation is not their strong point 🙂 I am now at the stage where I am reading some children’s books (about age 6) from the library but it is a starting point as well as doing my self taught lingaphone and duolingo courses.

  4. So interesting reading this and I can relate to so much of it. While I enjoy life in the sun I genuinely don’t feel its my forever home. Our son is settled and fluent but us adults are also struggling with the language but like you we’ve got a hell of a lot more than when we arrived.

    • Learning it is so hard as grown ups and it just goes to show what little sponges small people have for brains. Do you think you will stay or move on and try somewhere else?

  5. Wow it sounds as though so much has changed in 2 years! I loved reading about how you feeling 2 years down the line, its something I often think about doing!

    • It is really interesting looking back, each year, especially for the twins whose memories of the UK are fading fast now

  6. What a lovely honest post. I can imagine it does take a while to adapt to the culture. I love that they are able to climb trees at their school and explore nature. I’m sure the longer you are there the more settled you will get.

  7. I’m win twin 1… I’d be missing english sausages too 😉 Why are they never the same anywhere else?!! lol

    What an adventure you’re on! I often dream of moving to a different country and while the adventure sounds amazing I expect it is pretty lonely when you lose all support and have language barriers too.

    It sound like you are getting really settled though and I am sure you will always miss home. x

    • Yes what you say can be very true especially when the children are being very hard work!! The sausages here are all like hot dog sausages, nothing like those in the UK for him!

  8. Reading your post about Sweden makes me want to move there. I have so a lot about how laid back the people are and quiet it is there. I’ve also heard the education system is much better there too, which living in the states, is something I think is super in important. Our education system is bent. Not broken. At least not yet but it needs a lot of improvements. I love your photos too! You all look so happy and it looks so peaceful there.

    • Ah thankyou. The Uk education system was what really made us want to move on the child side of things….it’s to test driven, homework orientated, and everything starts so young for them.

  9. Bless your little lady! She is adapting so well by the sounds of things but little girls do love their friendships. It’s so good she’s happy to get stuck into socialising a lot more now, hopefully she will make some lasting friendships and things will get much better. It’s a shame you had to leave the van behind, we would LOVE a VW.

    • Yes she has coped so well considering everything she has gone through 🙂 It was our dream to have the VW van too, just couldn’t incorporate it into our living in Sweden dream!!

  10. Kate

    We moving to Sweden next year from South Africa, I am excited ad nervous at the same time

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